Posts Tagged ‘Nasrid Palaces’

Islamic architecture at the Alhambra

Having looked at the Alhambra from afar in my first post, followed by examples of the Islamic tile-work found within the palaces in my second and the Generalife in my third, this fourth post in my Alhambra photo-series takes a closer look at the architectural detail of the palace complex.

"Honeycomb," "stalactite," or "mocárabe" vaulting in the Hall of the Abencerrajes


The honeycomb architecture is a wonder.  I have seen this previously in pictures only and they really don’t express the intricacy and quality of the work.  To see it up close takes one’s breath away.


Honeycomb roof in detail

Honeycomb and carving in close up

Mind bogglingly stunning relief carving

Juxtaposition of tiles, carving and door

Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles)

Cuarto Dorado


This was a difficult shot to get as there were so many people packed into the room.  I knelt down on the floor and waited for a gap to emerge, which one eventually did for just  a second, and I was able to get the shot.  The pool looks very serene and the whole room opens up to sky above, particularly impressive when seen at night and I would certainly recommend the night visit aswell as the day visit.


Arch through to the Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions)

Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions)


The Court of the Lions was closed for renovation on our visit so we could only see the top part of the court above the boarding which blocked the view.  I was disappointed by this as the Court of the Lions is meant to be the jewel in the crown of the entire palace complex.  We were able to see the lion statutes which had been removed to another room and cleaned up (no photos allowed though) and they did look better for it.  Maybe We’ll have to go back one day to the see the court restored to all its glory.


Recess in the Salón de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors)



The Generalife, Granada

Adjacent to the Alhambra is the Generalife, the summer palace of the Nasrid rulers of Al-Andalus with its splendid gardens, and this is the subject of part 3 of my Alhambra photo-series.

The Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Fountains in the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Flowers in the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Archway carving at the Generalife

Gallery at the Generalife

Fountain and pool in Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana at the Generalife

Looking out from the Generalife towards the Alhambra

As with the Alhambra palaces, patience is key when visiting the Generalife; it seems near impossible to access it at a quite time so the best advice is to go in (you can only enter once by the way, multiple visits are not permitted) and to simply wait for breaks in the crowd.  In one of these rare moments you can then view and fully appreciate the gardens and buildings without trying to look over or around someone else.

My wife and I used the same trick in the palaces; simply hang back and let the flow of people pass you by.  It amazed my how quickly people moved through the palace complex; a click of the camera here and there and they were off to the next room leaving one to wonder how many visitors to the Alhambra actually see it, rather than just glance, point and shoot?

The palace rooms are places to linger, to allow oneself to be consumed by the detail and exquisiteness of the architecture and craftsmanship and to imagine them as they once were at their most opulent; to move through them in a manner that lacks in focus or concentration and as though one is in a great rush to reach the end is perverse: why bother going at all?

Before I finish I implore you to do one thing should you visit the palaces: sit on the floor and look around you.  You may get some odd looks but who really cares about that?  What you will also get, however, is a great perspective of the buildings; the Nasrid rulers would have filled the floors with cushions and sat on them and so you get to experience the rooms as they may have done, to a degree at least.

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